Canadian federal election, 1968

From Academic Kids

Template:Election canada

The Canadian federal election of 1968 was held on June 25, 1968 to elect members of the Canadian House of Commons. The Liberal Party won a majority government under its new leader, Pierre Trudeau.

Trudeau, who was a relative unknown until he was appointed to the cabinet by Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson, had won a surprise victory over Paul Martin Sr., Paul Hellyer and Robert Winters in the party's leadership election earlier in 1968. The charismatic, intellectual, handsome, single, and fully bilingual Trudeau soon captured the hearts and minds of the nation, and the period leading up to the election saw such intense feelings for him that it was dubbed "Trudeaumania." At public appearances, he was confronted by screaming girls, something never before seen in Canadian politics.

The Liberal campaign was dominated by Trudeau's personality. Liberal campaign ads featured pictures of Trudeau inviting Canadians to "Come work with me", and encouraged them to "Vote for New Leadership for All of Canada". The substance of the campaign was based upon the creation of a "just society", with a proposed expansion of social programs.

The principal opposition to the Liberals were the Progressive Conservative Party led by Robert Stanfield. The party was still smarting from the nasty infighting that had led to the ousting of leader John Diefenbaker. Stanfield was widely respected, but the public image of him was crystallized by a photo of him fumbling a football. He was viewed as being an honourable man, but perhaps not the one to make the big decisions.

The Conservatives also ran into trouble with their policy on Quebec: the Conservatives had reversed their traditional policies, and embraced the idea of deux nations, meaning that their policies would be based on the idea that Canada was one country housing two nations - French Canadians and English-speaking Canadians. As Conservative candidates began to renounce this policy, the party was forced to backtrack, and late in the campaign, ran ads signed by Stanfield that stated that the PC Party stood for "One country, one Canada".

Trudeau had more success, promoting his vision of a Canada whole and indivisible.

On the left, legendary socialist Tommy Douglas led the New Democratic Party, but the party had difficulty running against the left-leaning Trudeau, who was himself a former supporter of the NDP. Under the slogan, "You win with the NDP", Douglas campaigned for affordable housing, higher old age pensions, lower prescription drug prices, and a reduced cost of living.

Missing image
Cdn1968.PNG
The Canadian parliament after the 1968 election

This election was the last time that the Social Credit Party won federal seats in English Canada. On the other hand, the Ralliement des créditistes (Social Credit Rally), the Québec wing of the party that had split from the English Canadian party, met with great success. The créditistes were especially strong in rural ridings and amongst poor voters. Party leader Réal Caouette campaigned against poverty, government indifference, and "la grosse finance" (big finance). Caouette gave voters the impression that his party was the only one that truly belonged to the people. The créditistes were a populist option appealing to Québec nationalists and social conservatives.

The results of the election were sealed when on the night before the election a riot broke out at the St. Jean Baptiste Day parade in Montreal. Protesting the Prime Minister of Canada's attendance at the parade, supporters of Quebec independence yelled Trudeau au poteau [Trudeau to the gallows], and threw bottles and rocks. Trudeau, whose lack of military service had led some to question his courage, firmly stood his ground, and did not flee from the violence despite the wishes of his security escort. Images of Trudeau standing fast to the thrown bottles of the rioters were broadcast across the country, and swung the election even further in the Liberals' favour as many English-speaking Canadians believed that he would be the right leader to fight the threat of Quebec separatism.

National results

Party Party Leader # of
candidates
Seats Popular Vote
1965 Dissolution Elected % Change # % Change

Template:Canadian politics/party colours/Liberal/row

Liberal 262 131 128 155 +18.3% 3,686,801 45.37% +5.18%

Template:Canadian politics/party colours/Progressive Conservatives/row

Progressive Conservative <center> Robert Stanfield 262 97 94 72 -25.8% 2,548,949 31.36% -1.05%

Template:Canadian politics/party colours/NDP/row

New Democratic <center> Tommy Douglas 263 21 22 22 +4.8% 1,378,263 16.96% -0.95%

Template:Canadian politics/party colours/Social Credit/row

Ralliement créditiste <center> Réal Caouette 72 9 8 14 +55.6% 360,404 4.43% -0.22%

Template:Canadian politics/party colours/Independents/row

Independent 29 1 2 1 - 36,543 0.45% -0.23%

Template:Canadian politics/party colours/Liberal/row

Liberal-Labour <center> Pierre Trudeau 1     1   10,144 0.12%  

Template:Canadian politics/party colours/Social Credit/row

Social Credit <center> A.B. Patterson 32 5 4 - -100% 68,742 0.85% -2.82%

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Independent Liberal <center>   11 - - - - 16,785 0.21% -0.01%

Template:Canadian politics/party colours/Rhino/row

Rhinoceros <center> Cornelius I 2     -   5,802 0.07% +0.07%

Template:Canadian politics/party colours/Communist/row

Communist William Kashtan 14 - - - - 4,465 0.05% x

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Independent PC <center>   5 1 - - -100% 2,762 0.03% -0.14%

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Démocratisation Économique   5     -   2,651 0.03%  

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Franc Lib   1     -   2,141 0.03%  

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Independent Conservative   1 - - - - 632 0.01% x

Template:Canadian politics/party colours/Independents/row

Reform   1     -   420 0.01%  

Template:Canadian politics/party colours/Independents/row

Conservative   1 - - - - 339 x x

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Esprit social H-G Grenier 1 - - - - 311 x x

Template:Canadian politics/party colours/Independents/row

Socialist Labour   1 - - - - 202 x x

Template:Canadian politics/party colours/Independents/row

Republican   1     -   175 x  

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New Canada Fred Reiner 1     -   148 x  

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National Socialist   1     -   89 x  
     Vacant 6  
Total 967 265 265 264 -0.4% 8,126,768 100%  
Sources: http://www.elections.ca History of Federal Ridings since 1867 (http://www.parl.gc.ca/information/about/process/house/hfer/hfer.asp?Language=E), Toronto Star, June 24, 1968.

Notes:

"% change" refers to change from previous election

x - less than 0.005% of the popular vote

1 "Before" refers to party standings in the House of Commons prior to dissolution, not the results of the previous election.

Results by province

Party Name BC AB SK MB ON QC NB NS PE NL NT YK Total

Template:Canadian politics/party colours/Liberal/row

Liberal Seats: 16 4 2 5 63 56 5 1 - 1 1 - 154

Template:Canadian politics/party colours/Liberal/row

Popular Vote: 41.8 35.7 27.1 41.5 46.2 53.6 44.4 38.0 45.0 42.8 63.8 47.0 45.4

Template:Canadian politics/party colours/Progressive Conservatives/row

Progressive Conservative Seats: - 15 5 5 17 4 5 10 4 6 - 1 72

Template:Canadian politics/party colours/Progressive Conservatives/row

Vote: 18.9 51.0 37.0 31.4 32.0 21.1 49.7 55.2 51.8 52.7 23.4 48.0 31.4

Template:Canadian politics/party colours/NDP/row

New Democratic Seats: 7 - 6 3 6 - - - - - - - 22

Template:Canadian politics/party colours/NDP/row

Vote: 32.6 9.4 35.7 25.0 20.6 7.5 4.9 6.7 3.2 4.4 12.8 5.0 17.0

Template:Canadian politics/party colours/Social Credit/row

Ralliement créditiste Seats:           14 -           14

Template:Canadian politics/party colours/Social Credit/row

Vote:           16.4 0.7           4.4

Template:Canadian politics/party colours/Independents/row

Independent Seats: - - - - 1 - -           1

Template:Canadian politics/party colours/Independents/row

Vote: 0.1 0.2 0.2 0.3 0.6 0.6 0.2           0.4

Template:Canadian politics/party colours/Liberal/row

Liberal-Labour Seats:         1               1

Template:Canadian politics/party colours/Liberal/row

Vote:         0.3               0.1
Total seats: 23 19 13 13 88 74 10 11 4 7 1 1 264
Parties that won no seats:

Template:Canadian politics/party colours/Social Credit/row

Social Credit Vote: 6.4 1.9   1.5 xx         0.1     0.8

Template:Canadian politics/party colours/Independents/row

Independent Liberal Vote:   1.5     0.1 0.2             0.2

Template:Canadian politics/party colours/Rhino/row

Rhinoceros Vote:           0.3             0.1

Template:Canadian politics/party colours/Communist/row

Communist Vote: 0.1 0.1 0.1 0.2 0.1 xx             0.1

Template:Canadian politics/party colours/Independents/row

Independent PC Vote:   0.2     xx xx 0.1 0.1         xx

Template:Canadian politics/party colours/Independents/row

Démocratisation Écon. Vote:           0.1             xx

Template:Canadian politics/party colours/Independents/row

Franc Lib Vote:           0.1             xx

Template:Canadian politics/party colours/Independents/row

Independent Cons. Vote:       0.2                 xx

Template:Canadian politics/party colours/Independents/row

Reform Vote: 0.1                       xx

Template:Canadian politics/party colours/Independents/row

Conservative Vote:           xx             xx

Template:Canadian politics/party colours/Independents/row

Espirit social Vote:           xx             xx

Template:Canadian politics/party colours/Independents/row

Socialist Labour Vote:         xx               xx

Template:Canadian politics/party colours/Independents/row

Republican Vote: xx                       xx

Template:Canadian politics/party colours/Independents/row

New Canada Vote:         xx               xx

Template:Canadian politics/party colours/Independents/row

National Socialist Vote:           xx             xx

xx - less than 0.05% of the popular vote.

See: 28th Canadian parliament for a full list of those elected in the 1968 election.

Notes

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